Double Crossing So and Sos by Silvanus
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
On the first anniversary of Rookie Corner, Silvanus returns to entertain us. As usual, the setter will be delighted to receive feedback from you, the solvers. I do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism.
A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.
It falls to Silvanus to usher in the second year of the Rookie Corner with a suitable themed crossword (look at the top and bottom lines) of the crossword. The double crossing so and sos refers to the fact that the word (setter) appears twice in the across clues, hidden in 23a and in the final three letter of 12a and the first three of 14a. Beet (another Rookie setter) obviously has a fan club with 23a 24a too.
I thought that Silvanus might have produced the first Rookie crossword without any comments on the wordplay and clues but a pesky use of an adjective to clue a noun reared its head in 14a.
7 Show disapproval of piping on the side of black female garment (4,4)
BOOB TUBE – The noise made to show disapproval followed by another word for piping or a hollow cylinder all after (on the side of) the abbreviation for black.
9 It’s natural in a rowing crew, say (6)
INNATE – A homophone of IN EIGHT (rowing crew)
10 Low final turnout is debatable (4)
MOOT – Another word for low (as in the sound a cow makes) followed by the final letter of turnout.
11 Pa’s despair strangely vanishes (10)
DISAPPEARS – An anagram (strangely) of PA’S DESPAIR.
12 Pamper naughty escorts lacking resistance (6)
COSSET – An anagram (naughty) of ESCORTS after removing the R (lacking resistance).
14 It sounds frightening to hold down reptile (8)
TERRAPIN – A homophone (it sounds) of terror (frightening – I think frightening (an adjective) would be a synonym for terrifying not terror (a noun)) followed by a word meaning hold down (as in a wrestling move).
15 Assume to hand over keys first (6)
ACCEDE – Two notes or keys on the musical scale followed by a word meaning to hand over.
16 Filthy mongrel found in empty study (6)
SMUTTY – A four letter word for a mongrel inside the outer letters (empty) of study.
19 Sticky substance is a dreadful mess also (8)
MOLASSES – An anagram (dreadful) of MESS ALSO.
21 Soft food regurgitated with uneven delays (6)
CUDDLY – The food regurgitated by cows followed by the odd letters (uneven) of DeLaYs.
23 Quiet, outstanding compiler who’s ahead of the competition (10)
PACESETTER – The musical abbreviation for quiet followed by a three letter word meaning outstanding and another word for a compiler.
24 Root round by the sound of it (4)
BEET – A homophone (by the sound of it) of beat (a policeman’s round).
25 Young Stuart with whiskers! (6)
LITTLE – Double definition with a cryptic reference to the mouse in the film.
26 Plane losing oxygen would cause suffocation (8)
SMOOTHER – A reverse clue. An O (abbreviation from oxygen) removed from the answer would give a word meaning cause suffocation. Chambers gives the answer as a tool such as a plane.
1 Architectural style of an old clown following Russian Orthodox leaders (6)
ROCOCO – The name of an old clown goes after (following) the first letters (leaders) of Russian Orthodox.
2 Probity encompasses brief loss report (4)
OBIT – The answer is hidden by (encompasses) PROBITY.
3 External appointment note is obsolete (8)
OUTDATED – A three letter word meaning external followed by a word for a romantic appointment and a note of the musical scale.
4 Cut head off a smoked fish (6)
KIPPER – A word meaning cut or omit with the first letter removed (head off) followed by another word for “A” as in £5 a head.
5 Communicated with Bill and Ted after Milan club had opened (10)
INTERACTED – The name of a football club in Milan followed by an abbreviation for a bill or invoice and the TED from the clue.
6 For ages, ruined Tintern had no ultimate plan in case of emergency (8)
ETERNITY – An anagram (ruined) of TINTERN (the name of a village with a ruined abbey) after removing the final N (the last letter or ultimate) in plan put inside the outer letters (case of) emergency.
8 For starters, employ regular steel alternative to zinc substitute (6)
ERSATZ – The initial letters (for starters) of the third to eighth words of the clue.
13 Solemn oath to old American city (10)
SACREMENTO – Another word for a solemn oath followed by the abbreviation for old.
15 A pointless dreamer is sweet-smelling (8)
AROMATIC – The A from the clue followed by a word for a dreamer with the N removed (pointless).
17 Biscuit for accountant wearing brownish red (8)
MACAROON – An abbreviation for a chartered accountant around which you add a word for brownish red.
18 In actuality return visit is almost concealed (2,2,2)
AS IT IS – The answer is hidden (concealed) and reversed (return) in VISIT IS ALMOST
20 Person searching diocese for busker without transport (6)
SEEKER – Another word for a diocese followed by the busker from the clue after a word for a type of transport has been removed.
22 23 broadcast German songs (6)
LIEDER – A homophone (broadcast) of leader (a synonym for the answer to 23a).
24 Scrap energy snack (4)
BITE – A word for a scrap or off-cut followed by the abbreviation for energy.
End of year review
Is it really a year since Axolotl was the first Rookie to make an appearance in Big Dave’s new venture? Mondays have definitely been enlivened by the prospect of new setters offering their crosswords for solving and review. The number of comments on the crosswords that appear each week is testimony to the popularity of the Rookie Corner.
Apart from clue writing competitions (particularly DIY COW run by Anax on his website), there is little opportunity for up and coming setters to publish crosswords and receive feedback on their clues. The Rookie corner provides an invaluable outlet for tomorrow’s setters. The Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle had introduced new setters – many of whom are now being published nationally – but all the crosswords there were test solved and checked by the editor before being published. The Rookie Corner is the one place where you see the original crossword and get feedback on it. It was encouraging that John Henderson (Elgar) publicised the existence of the Rookie Corner in his capacity as editor of the Inquisitor crossword series in the Independent, another testimony to the important role that the Rookie Corner plays.
We have already had some graduations from the Rookie Corner to the NTSPP and given the high standard of some of the current Rookies, I will not be long, I feel, before others move over to the Saturday puzzle. Another encouraging effect of the Rookie Corner series is that the new setters are collaborating to test solve for each other, each striving for the holy grail of publishing a crossword that the grand inquisitor cannot find fault with!
I have had the privilege of reviewing most of the crosswords that have been published. I am hopeful that the notes that I prepared in the early weeks of the Rookie Corner will eventually see the light of day on Big Dave’s website.
A big thank you to all of the setters who have entertained us and to Big Dave for the vision of providing this corner of the website for new setters to learn the ropes.